My husband and I are finally getting our plans together for our coop. We are actually building a 40x60 building with a lean-to attached to it. The birds will be in the lean-to section of it, which will be 16x30. 16x13 for 60 laying hens and 16x17 for 100 meat birds. I've been reading a lot and trying to get my plans finalized for construction. The books say 1 nest box per 2 birds, 1 ft of roost space each, and 6 inches of feeding space. Is all that necessary? They will have access to about 6sq ft each of outdoor space as well. We live in southeast michigan so there will be days when they are inside all day due to the weather.
I'm really trying to maximize their floor space. Can I get by with 3 birds per nest or less roosting space? Its fine if they actually need it, we have the space to dedicate it if necessary, I just thought I would give them all of the floor space possible. Do you give your meat birds roosts? Most books say it isn't necesary. The meat birds will also have access to outside, just not as much. I wonder if they'll even use it. It sounds like they just sit around and eat all day. Is that true?
I'm going to get mostly isa-browns and leghorns with a few others to mix it up, mostly dual purpose birds. I think we'll be ordering from Townline here in Michigan. Also, do you let your chickens out in the snow? I'm thinking its ok as long as its above freezing. Any other tips you can give would be great. I really want to give our girls the best home possible. Sorry for the random thoughts, they kept coming to me as I was typing.